Posts Tagged ‘mentoring’

URBAN TxT Committed to Our Future

1387985_58109282It comes as no surprise that experts say there are not enough opportunities for urban boys and young men to keep them interested in school and academics. That’s not unique to males, of course, but the whole downward spiral that sweeps so many up and onto a criminal track can, it seems logical, be interrupted by a passion for learning and training in new skills. Passion is the operative word. In South Central Los Angeles and the Watts district, some of the most under-invested communities in our country, URBAN TxT is making a difference. The name stands for “URBAN Teens Xploring Technology” and they provide after-school programs in tech for young men.

More than just computer skills and renewed focus on academics, URBAN TxT teaches life skills, leadership, commitment to community, and how to positively impact those around them. The track record in just a couple of years is beyond impressive: “70% of the students in the program go on to computer engineering degrees. 100% of the students graduate high school and  90% go on to a four-year university.  Program has a 100% retention rate. 60% students have made an upswing in academic performance while top performers maintain high grades. 25% of program alumni come back during the summer to mentor and serve as project manager of the teens.” And this isn’t a mere keep-the-kids-off-the-streets babysitting program. The skills these young men learn and master are directly marketable in the workforce. Website development, media, blogging, political exploration, engineering, design…it puts them head and shoulders above so many after they graduate.

It’s a great program, making hugs strides, and a model for teens transforming their relationship to inner cities and discovering a life empowered for success.


Mentor Artists–Getting the Word Out

Mentor Artists Playwrights Project

Mentor Artists Playwrights Project

This is the group with which I have worked in Native American communities for these past years–and what gave birth to my Native Youth Documentary film project. These kids have voices that they don’t even recognize as powerful, stories they don’t realize the world needs to hear. The work is unlocking all of that pent up brilliance. If I could give you even the tiniest nugget of what it is to sit down and mentor, one-on-one with these young people, you, too, would recognize it as priceless.

Even as the financial and housing markets begin to revive, let me assure you, what hasn’t come back is federal funding…for anything. While most of us haven’t noticed the sequester as anything other than media bluster….except for a day or two of delayed flights that was quickly remedied…the Native American population continues to have dollars dry up for important resources. The resource with which I most concern myself is education. The challenges for a kid finishing high school on a reservation can be enormous, so when a project comes along like the Mentor Artists Playwrights Project (MAPP), that specifically addresses the most marginalized among an already marginalized community, and sparks tremendous passion and creativity, we must pay attention.

Please click on the link and visit the MAPP fundraising campaign, and learn more. Also check out the website and facebook page. Consider a donation to support this huge work. Even if your wallet is a bit light these days, “like” the facebook page, re-post the information to your community, spread the word. This is about you becoming a part of a community that refuses to let young people fall through the cracks. Be the net by helping others grow aware.